THE BOOK, INSIDE THE SOVIET ARMY, IS WRITTEN UNDER THE NAME OF «VIKTOR SUVOROV.» As a defector, under sentence of death in the USSR, the author does not use his own name and has chosen instead that of one of the most famous of Russian generals. This is a book that should command wide attention, not only in the armed forces of the free world, but among the general public as well. It is an account of the structure, composition, operational method, and general outlook of the Soviet military in the context of the Communist regime in the USSR and the party’s total dominion, not only over the Soviet Union, but over the client states of the Warsaw Pact as well.
The book starts with a survey of the higher military leadership and an analysis of the types of armed services, and of the organization of Soviet Army formation. An examination of the Red Army’s mobilization system that follows is of particular interest. The chapters that follow on strategy and tactics and on equipment are also of high interest. The first, on operational method, emphasizes the supreme importance attached in Soviet military thinking to the offensive and the swift exploitation of success. Defensive action is hardly studied at all except as an aspect of attack. The second, on equipment, examines Soviet insistence on simplicity in design and shows how equipment of high technical complexity (the T-72 tank, for instance) is also developed in another form, radically simplified in what the author calls «the monkey model,» for swift wartime production. The last two chapters on «The Soldiers’ Lot» and «The Officer’s Role» will be found by many to be the most valuable and revealing of the whole book. We have here not so much a description of what the Red Army looks like from the outside, but what it feels like inside.